[Thought we should expand on the Facebook announcement]
June of 2003, Jrex and I went out for a date night. He was finishing up a one-year stint of full-time cancer patient care. Working 6 days a week, on-call almost every other weekend during his “light months”, phone calls in the middle of the night, never home before 7 p.m. During dinner, his response to every ‘normal’ conversational question (“What do you think of the Baltimore mayor?” “What do you want to do for our upcoming vacation?” “What do you think about when your mind just starts to drift?”), was a tired, “I don’t know.”
In the middle of that burn out, he had to figure out what kind of research he might want to do for the upcoming year. He also had to approach various scientists at Hopkins to ask them if he could work for them. In the end, he decided on Nice Egomaniac’s lab. Jrex enthused to me, “Many of his post-docs get published in one of the big three journals. It’ll be longer than a two-year post-doc, but it should be a better launching pad toward whatever I do after that.”
We talked and prayed about it. I was persuaded by his enthusiasm and supportive of whatever he wanted to do.
His real interest was investigating the mechanisms in cells when there is repeated injury and repair (for example, every time you smoke, you injure the lining in your lung and your body has to try to rebuild). Are those sites more prone to cancer development? If so, why? (NOTE: that’s my understanding, I’m sure he could explain it much, much better) After investigating that, he wanted to jump into another lab in a collaboration and work on crystal structures (NO idea what that really means). Nice Egomaniac nodded and smiled to all those ideas, but just as Jrex was beginning to dive into all of it, Nice Ego asked if Jrex would take on a little six-month project. It shouldn’t be too hard.
It took two years to figure out that the data used by Jrex’s predecessor for his papers published in the BIG Journal was no good and non-reproduceable. Now, four years after that, he’s pulled a phoenix paper out of the ashes and it’s been accepted for publication. Obviously, we’re both vastly relieved, but...
He’s not THAT interested in what he just published, but now he has to make the best of it. It’s too late for him to investigate crystal structures. He’d wanted to combine biology and chemistry, since his real love is chemistry, but there’s little chance of that now. In the next year, he’ll be trying to pursue his original research interest in lung injury and repair. Of course, if he finds anything good, it’s doubtful that Nice Ego will let him take the data, cells, or mice with him. His upcoming challenges for 2010 are defining the questions he wants to try to answer through his research, applying for grants and applying for jobs.
Our bubbling rosé toast the night he got his acceptance from the journal? “To quitting our current jobs!”